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Avoiding Employee Gossip
Avoiding Employee Gossip
In every company there are people who “talk” about things that are happening in that company. Many of the things they discuss are speculative making them “gossip”. While most companies have a policy against gossip, it is impossible to avoid and even tougher to enforce. By human nature people are going to talk. There are some things that can cut down on the water cooler chatter.
- Make policies and stick to them for ALL employees. Employees who feel they are being treated differently are going to talk. Policy should not be hard line enforced with one employee and completely ignored for another. One of my employers actually changed the vacation policy and then only enforced it with certain employees. It was so obvious and underhanded that the entire management staff was angry.
- Keep your employees informed. Any time the company makes major changes, have meetings and stick to the decisions in those meetings. Don’t’ come back a week later and reprimand employees for doing what you discussed in a meeting or email. A good manager has no problem bouncing ideas with employees or hearing oppositional statements, because they know that all employees should have the same goal and company first attitude.
- Do what you say you are going to do. Don’t offer bonus incentives or vacation pay that you have no intentions of putting out. This behavior breeds discontentment among employees. We had an employer who cut benefits to the bone when we were doing great as a company. Then they lied about the bonus program. This resulted in angry managers who were never paid what they were promised. (pretty slimy)
- Keep your employees busy. If you have a business where there is down time, give employees projects to do in their down time. If they are left to entertain themselves, they will at your expense.
- Be a fair employer. Treat people with respect and they will be respectful to you.Employers who degrade employees are asking for a backlash from employees.
- Lead by example. Think about how your employees see you. Do they see you? Do they know what you expect of them? Or are they constantly left to guess at your expectations? When they guess, they will guess out loud to others.I worked for an employer who never called unless he thought something was wrong. This behavior created a situation for all the employees where they dreaded his calls and did not like him.
- Know your employee’s. I was at the movies with my husband several nights ago and one of his employees that called into work was actually at the movies on a date. This was not a surprise. If you know your employees then you know if they are sneaky, underhanded, or liars.
All of these points are important for keeping gossip down to a minimum. If your employees gossip, there is a good chance you are doing something to cause it. Introspection is a good thing.